Published: Sun, November 18, 2018
Markets | By Erika Turner

1 killed, hundreds injured in France gas protests

1 killed, hundreds injured in France gas protests

Overall 52 people had been detained across France and 106 people had been injured, five seriously, the interior ministry said. Officers have so far arrested 24 people, and 17 of them were taken into custody, according to the Interior Ministry, cited by BFM TV.

In the eastern Savoie region, a 63-year-old woman was killed when a mother trying to take her daughter to see a doctor panicked after protesters surrounded their auto, and suddenly accelerated into the crowd.

Dozens of people were also injured, as drivers tried to get around stoppages, after protestors in a grassroots protest movement dubbed the "yellow vests" took to motorway sliproads, tunnel entrances or airport access roads.

The amateur nature of the protests, often spontaneous and therefore illegal, made it tricky for police, who had orders to use dialogue over force but to stop protesters from completely blocking major routes or endangering lives or property.

Some highways were totally blocked including the A63 which links France to Spain. But up to 200 people were later seen walking down the street, apparently heading toward the Elysee presidential palace.

In what is possibly the largest coordinated protest against President Emmanuel Macron's reforms since he took office 18 months ago, media reports that between 1,000 and 2,000 rallies have been organised across the country on Saturday with between 50,000 to 120,000 people in attendance.

In a similar scenario, police cleared out the huge traffic circle around the Arc de Triomphe, paralyzed for hours by protesters.

Then oil prices surged in October people in France's many rural areas who rely on cars grew more angry.

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Protesters blame a 20 percent rise in diesel prices in the a year ago on the so-called green taxes under President Emmanuel Macron. Diesel vehicle owners, still a majority in France, feel betrayed after decades of the state encouraging diesel engines.

He added that the protesters are demanding that big businesses and industries should be the ones to bear the burden of the green taxes imposed by the government, and not ordinary drivers.

Many drivers see them as emblematic of a presidency disconnected from day-to-day economic difficulties.

"Macron is the president of the rich and not the poor".

"I happily voted for Macron in 2017, but he's really making fun of us", Dominique Jouvert, 63, a retired civil servant demonstrating in Lyon's city centre, told AP.

The tax hike is so widely unpopular, that even 54 per cent of those who voted for Macron support the movement, with 73 per cent of Frenchmen of all political persuasions supporting the Yellow Vests.

Robert Tichit, 67, a retiree, referred to the president as "King Macron". There are too many taxes in this country, " he said.

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